Hi! This is Tim McCool. I’m a Traffic Safety Specialist with the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office. We contract with KDOT to do traffic safety education across Kansas. If some of you recognize my name, you might remember me from when I was a Trooper with the Kansas Highway Patrol. I retired three years ago to work for KTSRO. My main job is to travel around the state and instruct classes for people to become certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians, and then be a CPS resource for these people. These are the people in your communities who can work with parents and caregivers and instruct them on how to use and install child safety seats into their vehicles correctly.
Did you know that, nationally, between 74% and 90% of all car seats are installed incorrectly? Well I didn’t either until I went through this same course back in 1999. Going into this four-day class I was a parent of two children, and thought to myself “I’ve got kids, I put them in car seats! What can they possibly teach me about car seats???” Well, I was in for one eye-opening class! As a Trooper, I was familiar with how seat belts worked to hold people in their seats during a crash. That’s a good thing!
People are always safer riding a crash out safely restrained in their seat in the car. But did you know that child safety seats have to be locked into the car in order to hold a car seat from moving around just while you drive down the road? I didn’t, but it makes sense doesn’t it! Makes me wonder how my kids survived their childhood. It’s always good to have some curve in your learning curve! Needless to say, I really put my brain to work for the next several days and learned as much as I could about car seats and how they need to be installed in vehicles.
And since that time, I and about 500 to 600 other people here in Kansas, have dedicated themselves to trying to make kids safer as they ride in vehicles. As adults, it is our responsibility to keep our kids as safe as we can. Nobody ever leaves home planning to have a car crash, but they do happen, more than what we in law enforcement would like to see. And if you can make use of a local Child Passenger Safety Technician to check and see if you installed your car seat correctly, why wouldn’t you?
Our job as CPS Techs isn’t to make fun of you or point out any mistakes you may have made putting in that car seat. Our job is to work with you as a parent or caregiver and educate you as to how your car seat can be installed in your vehicle as safely as it can possibly be. Can it be confusing….you bet! There are hundreds of car seats on the market and hundreds of different vehicles they can be installed in. It’s our job as CPS Techs to make it less confusing and try to explain anything you don’t understand. We keep track of all the new technology and best practices recommended by the experts in the field. And if we don’t know the answer to a question you have, we will tell you that and then contact one of our resources to find the answer you are looking for.
Child Passenger Safety is an ongoing learning experience because it’s a constantly changing field. Someone is always trying to build a better car seat or trying to make it easier to lock a car seat into the vehicle seat. And as CPS Techs we have to keep up with all the new information out there. This takes a real dedication and not everybody is cut out to be a CPS Tech.
So, if you have a question about a car seat that you, your family, or a friend is using, please contact a local CPS Technician and set up an appointment to come in and talk to us. If you don’t know of a local program please feel free to use the following link to find a CPS Tech in your area: http://www.ktsro.org/child-passenger-safety#station.
Children are our most precious resource. Let’s all work together to help keep Kansas kids safe!